Brian Eno, London, David Bowie discussed on Broken Record
Aw you know that feeling of being a tourist in a totally foreign land. How rich all the tiny details are how densely asleep layered the memories? You can look back on a day and marvel at just how much you managed to pack in whereas a day of normal routines can be hard to remember tool one of the things that Brian Eno is trying to achieve with his strange cards. Is that same sense of attention of being alert. The enemy of creative creative work is boredom. Actually and the friend is alertness. Now I think what makes you alert is to be faced with a situation that is beyond in your control so you have to be watching it very carefully to see how it unfolds to be able to stay on top of it. That kind of alertness is exciting. Exciting there is nothing like an unfamiliar problem to make you start focusing if things feel out of your control maybe even a little dangerous that gets the adrenaline flowing. In the right circumstances the creative juices to this attention grabbing affect applies whether we're talking about I'm trying to play a strange instrument navigate a strange place or work together with a strange person Ahmad. It sounds dramatic it can work its magic to subliminal subliminal level. It can be something as subtle as whether the words were reading on a page look. Familiar ord consider acidic study by the psychologists connor diamond. Yaman Daniel Oppenheimer an Erica Vaughn. They teamed up with high school teachers getting them to reformat format teaching handouts. They used half that classes chosen at random. Got The original materials in standard fonts such as times new Roman the other half got the same documents reformatted into one of three challenging fonts. The dense text of hadn't sh- filer. The cursive flourishes of monotype Cordova or zesty bounce of Comic Sans Talent is these funds are. Let's be honest distracting and hard to read but the ugly fonts didn't hamper. The students at all students who'd been taught using them ended up scoring higher on their exams. We don't know exactly why but it seems that the strange chance prompted them to pay attention to slow down and to think about what they were reading. If such obstacles make Carr's focus and think harder they may end up not being obstacles at all but secret weapons now. There's a second reason that the oblique strategies may have helped David Bowie. They pushed pushed him to try something. Fresh Brian Eno described to me the tendency of highly skilled musicians to end up exploring a narrow territory. Because it's the only place they feel completely comfortable. You get more and more competent at dealing with that place and you'll cliches becoming increasingly really cliche. But when you're forced to start from somewhere new the cliches can be replaced with moments of magic. This effect is well understood. Far outside the realm of music computer scientists use algorithms to look for solutions to complex problems and those algorithms often for news the tactic of stepping back and adding some randomness partway through their search on sort of complex problems. Do I have in mind. There are plenty Planning efficient routes for fleet of parcel delivery trucks figuring out the best layout for a silicon chip. Such problems have so many possible solutions that it's impossible even for a computer to check the ball so computer scientists have developed algorithms that. Try to find a solution that may not be perfect. It's good enough. You'd be surprised. At how many of these algorithms at random shocks and remixes those shocks are there to prevent the algorithm getting stuck on a bad solution in the jargon that's called a local optimum but you're I simply call it a dead end the random shocks chalks offer a way of backing out of the dead end and trying something else. This might seem a long way from our everyday concerns. We know musical musical geniuses and we're not computer algorithms but the same logic is at play in the most humdrum circumstances such as our daily commute for example in my own long standing commute across the London Underground. I know exactly where on the platform I should stand when I get on the first tube train to ensure that after riding riding nine stops including a change of lines in the perfect position to be first on the escalator out of London Bridge Station thus the front of the line for coffee the monmouth coffeehouse near the tube exit find differences in where I stand on a train platform on one side of the city determine how quickly I get my coffee Faye half an hour later on the other side gas. I promised myself never become. That person happened anyway. However you commute you you likely have your own little shortcuts and time saving habits assuming that is those habits really do save you time because according into the logic I've been outlining if you commute being forced to change your plans they actually help you in the long run? It's the obstacle in your path. Offer that forces you to find a better path but in what circumstances might the London Underground possibly be disrupted. I hear you ask well. In February. Twenty fourteen to trade. Unions representing workers on the subway launched a forty eight hour strike which closed well over the half. The stations on the system. The first day of the strike was wet as well as being cold and dark which will have discouraged people from simply walking or getting on a bike. The trains and buses that day were rammed full of grumpy commuters trying to figure out how to get around disruption after the strike. The economists Ferdinand rouch. Sean Larkham and Tim Williams looked at data from London's electronic fare card system. Those fare cards work on the subway the buses else is and the overground trains to row and his colleagues identified. People had to change from their regular route during the strike. Most change back again when the strike was over of course many did not. They realized that there had been getting their own commute wrong. All their lives and all it took took to prompt them into finding a better way with two days of disruption.